« AnteriorContinuar »
removing from the Museum. The most valuable of them are to go by land, and will set off next week accompanied by the celebrated Venetian horses, and all the other precious articles belonging to Lombardy, Piedmont and Tuscany. The convoy will be escorted by strong detachments of Austrian troops. The remainder, which may belong to Rome, will be embarked and sent by sea to Italy. Among these, I am happy to inform you, for I know how much you will rejoice at it, that even all our ancient manuscripts, medals, and other equally valuable objects of antiquity will be included, to the great satisfaction no doubt of the loyal Denon, and of that eminent Italian patriot E. A. Visconti, members of the Institute.
P. S. I had nearly forgot to tell you, that even the painting and statues lately belonging to the Albani family are to be restored. Do not believe all the lies which the French papers are authorized to pour forth about the Venus de Medicis. She is still as she was before, salva et incolumis.
Died at Berne, Switzerland, of an apoplexy, in his 46th year, GODFRIED Mind, a painter celebrated for his extraordinary delineations of Bears and Cats.
His father, still living in Berne, is a native of Lipsch, in Upper Hungary, and learned the trade of a cabinet maker at Kremnitz. The son was a pupil of Frendenberger, and his extraordinary talents in the representation of various species of animals, but especially those abovementioned, in paintings in water-colours, are attested not only by the numerous productions of his pencil in the portfolios of various anateurs at Berne, Zurich, Basle, and other places, but also by the high encomiums passed on his performances by many artists of the highest eminence. Madame Lebrun, of Paris, perhaps the first living female painter, vever failed in her different journies through Switzerland, to purchase several of Mind's performances, declaring at the same time, that they were real master-pieces of their kind, and would be acknowledged as such in the French metropolis. It was she who first gave to our artist the appellation of Le Raphael des Chats, the Raphael of Cats, which he has ever since retained, and by which many strangers enquire for him at Berne. Mind was certainly well worthy of this name, not only on account of the correctness of his drawings of those animals, and the true though dignified delineation of their forms, but more especially on account of the life and spirit which he transfused into them in his pictures. The affection of Mind for the feline race might be termed fraternal. When he was at work, a favourite cat generally set by his side ; and he was often seen employed at bis table with an old cat on his lap, and two or three kittens on both shoulders, or even in the hollow formed at the back of his neck by the inclination of his head. Thus encumbered, he would sit for hours together at his work, and abstain from every motion that could in the least incommode his beloved favourites. In winter evenings, Mind used to amuse himself with carving bears, cats, and other animals, in miniature, out of wild chesnut tree, with such accuracy and skill, that they had a rapid sale, and were bought up by many as orments for their chimney pieces. It is to be regretted that insects soon attacked the wood, and thus destroyed these pretty little figures. Mind passed many of his happiest hours at the Bears' den in Berne, where from remote antiquity two live bears have been constantly kept.
No sooner did Friedli, by which name he was best known at Berne, make his appearance, than the bears hastened to him with a friendly grunt, upon which they were invariably rewarded with a piece of bread, or an apple, from the pocket of their benefactor and friend. Next to cats and bears, Mind received the greatest delight from looking over works of art, particularly prints in which animals were introduced. Among these, however, the lions of Rubens, some pieces by Rembrandt and Potter, and Reidinger's stags, were the only copies that he allowed to be excellent. With the other animals by Riedinger he found fault, almost without exception, as incorrect. The bears by the same artist he characterized as absolute monsters ; 'neither did he entertain a much more favourable opinion of the celebrated cats of Cornelius Vischer, and Hollar. On other works, such chiefly as hunting and historical compositions, he often pronounced most severe opinions, without the least regard to the celebrity of the master; and on other matters, notwithstanding his secluded life, he displayed profound penetration, and correct. judgment. The following parody of the verses of Catullus, on Lesbia's sparrow, has been proposed as an appropriate inscription for ihis artist :
Lugete, O Feles, Ursique lugete!
THE MONARCH MINSTRELA SONNET BY LORD BYRON.
The Harp the Monarch MINSTREL swept,
The king of men—the lord of Heaven,-
It softened men of iron mould,
That felt not-fired not to the tone,
It told the triumphs of our King
It wafted glory to our GoD-
The cedars bow-the mountains nod
Since then, though heard on earth no more
Devotion and her daughter, Love,
To sounds that seem as from above,
FROM THE MONTHLY MAGAZINE FOR OCTOBER.
Extracts from a Memoir on the Ruins of Babylon, on
the east side of the Euphrates ; by Claudius James Rich, Esq. resident for the Honourable East India Company at the Court of the Pacha of Bagdad.
I was completely deceived in my anticipation about Babylon : instead of a few insulated mounds, I found the whole face of the country covered with vestiges of building, in some places consisting of brick walls surprisingly fresh, in others merely of a vast succession of mounds of rubbish of such indeterminate figures, variety, and extent, as to inyolve the person who would have formed any theory in
inextricable confusion. The whole country between Bagdad and Hellah is perfectly flat, and (with the exception of a few spots as you approach the latter place) an uncultivated waste. That it was at some former period in a far different state, is evident from the number of canals by which it is traversed, now dry and neglected ; and the quantity of heaps of earth, covered with fragments of brick and broken tiles, which are seen in every direction—the indisputable traces of former population.
At present the only inhabitants of this tract, are the Zobeide Arabs, the Sheikh of which tribe is responsible for the security of the road, which is so much frequented that robberies are comparatively seldom heard of. At convenient distances, khans or caravanserais are erected for the accommodation of travellers, and to each of them is attached a small village of Fellahs.
The ruins of Babylon may be said to commence from Mohawil, the whole country between it and Hellah exhibiting at intervals, traces of buildings, in which are discoverable burnt and unburnt bricks and bitumen ; three mounds, in particular, attract attention from their magnitude. The ground to the right and left of the road bears the appearance of being partially and occasionally a morass, though, at the time we passed it, it was perfectly dry ; the road which is due south, lies within a quarter of a mile of the celebrated mass, called by Pietro Della Valle, the Tower of Belus ; Hellah is nine miles from Mobawil, and nearly forty eight from Bagdad.
Hellah is called by Abulfeda, Hellah Bere Moreid. The district called by the natives El-Aredh Babel, extends on both sides of the Euphrates. Its latitude, according to Niebuhr, is 32o. 28', and it is situated on the western bank of the Enphrates, a few shops and hnts only being on the eastern. It is meanly built, and its population does not exceed between 6 and 7000, consisting of Arabs and Jews, (who have one synagogue, there being no Christians, and only such Turks as are employed in the government.) Ainong the gardens to the west of the Husseinia gate, is the Mesjid-esshers, a mosque built on the spot where popular tradition says, a miracle was wrought, similar to that of the prophet Joshua. This country abounds in pretended tombs of prophets. On the Tigris, between Bagdad and Bassora, they show the sepulcbre of Ezra ; twelve miles in the desert, to the south west of Hellah, is that of Ezekiel, and to the southward, the tomb of Job: the two former are places of pilgrimage of the Jews, who do not acknowledge those of Job and Joshua.
The inhabitants of Hellah bear a very bad character. The air is salubrious, and the soil extremely fertile, producing great quantities of rice, dates, and grain of different kinds, though it is not cultivated to above half the degree of which it is susceptible. The grand cause of this fertility, is the Euphrates, the banks of which are' lower, and the stream more equal than the Tigris. Strabo says, that it was a stadium in breadth at Babylon ; according to Rennel, about 491 English feet, or, D’Anville's still more reduced scale, 330. Niebubr says, at Hellah it is 400 Danish feet broad ; my measurement by a graduated line at the bridge there, brings it to 75 fathoms, or 450 feet. Its breadth, however, varies in its passage through the ruins. The Euphrates rises at an earlier period than the Tigris ; in the middle of the winter it increases a little, but falls again soon after ; in March it again rises, and in the latter end of April is at its full, continuing so to the latter end of June. When at its height it overflows the surrounding country, fills the canals dug for its reception, without the slightest exertion of labor, and facilitates agriculture in a surprising degree. The ruins of Babylon are then inundated, so as to render many parts of them inaccessible, by converting the vallies among them into morasses. But the most remarkable inundation of the Euphrates is at Felugiah, twelve leagues to the westward of Bagdad, where on breaking down the dike which confines its waters within their proper channel, they flow over the country, and extend nearly to the banks of the Tigris, with a depth sufficient to render them navigable for rafts and flat-bottomed boats.
The water of the Euphrates is esteemed more salubrious than that of the Tigris. Its general course through the site of Babylon, is north and south. I questioned the fishermen who ply on the river, respecting its bottom, and they all agreed that bricks and other fragments of building are very commonly found in it.
On the ruins of Babylon there is not a single tree growing, excepting one old one ; but in the intervals of the ruins, where, in all probability, no building ever stood, there Vol. II. No. 5.